Re: Justification for the cite attribute on ins&del

Hi Henri,

On 17/10/2007, Henri Sivonen <> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Oct 17, 2007, at 22:27, Mark Birbeck wrote:
> >> Given that the language feature hasn't gained UA support in a decade,
> >> I think it is time to reassess the demand for the feature and how
> >> well the feature addresses the demand if there even is demand. See
> >> also[2].
> >
> > By that definition there would be no need to write any specifications,
> > since whatever we already have is exactly what we wanted all along. :)
> We need specs that document how to consume Web content in order to
> lower the cost of consuming Web content.

You've lost me. It doesn't cost me anything to consume web content.

I guess it costs browser vendors money to create software that in turn
consumes web content, but I don't see why they need to make such a big
fuss about writing down what it is that they do.

Of course, it does cost a lot to *publish* web content, due to the
lack of standardisation across all of the browsers. But that is being
valiantly addressed by the army of Ajax library coders, *not* by the
browser vendors. As we've agreed they've had years to get this right,
and in this they seem to me to be 'Johnny-come-latelies'.

> This doesn't mean we shouldn't introduce new features in specs.

Go ahead. But we were discussing removing old features.

> > If browsers had implemented everything that was useful in the various
> > standards, then we wouldn't be in the middle of the Ajax revolution.
> It's interesting that you use that example, since the Ajax revolution
> is based on features that were introduced in browsers without prior
> committee work and are being documented after-the-fact.

There are two aspects to this though. One is the way that interesting
features like XMLHttpRequest and animation have been used, and
obviously it's a good thing to standardise on those.

But the other aspect is the way that Ajax libraries have tended to be
a way to hide the incompatibilities between browser implementations.
The fact that they were needed flags up a limitation in browser
technology, and is nothing to be proud of. It strikes me that the
browser vendors (and standards organisations) are playing catch-up to
developers who got fed up waiting, and just got on with it.

(And it's an interesting question to consider whether companies that
act as conservatively as we've seen the browser vendors do, will even
be able to 'catch up'.)

> > The enormous number of useful features being implemented via script
> > libraries--and the widespread use of these libraries--shows that there
> > is a demand for more than current UAs deliver.
> Sure, but we are not discussing a feature in such demand in this case.

You've missed the point; how do you know it's not in demand? So far
your only 'proof' is that the browser vendors did not implement it. My
argument is that this tells us nothing about the feature's worth.

> > But it's not as if the browser vendors haven't had an opportunity
> > to implement much more...they've had years.
> More to the point, the cite='' attribute has had ample opportunity to
> show its fitness in the marketplace. It has had a decade.

This is surreal. The browser vendors have done *nothing* for a decade,
other than play politics. The lack of support for @cite tells us
*nothing* about its appropriateness or otherwise. What "marketplace"
are you talking about?

> > Which means the *last* thing one should use as a yardstick by which to
> > determine inclusion in a standard, is whether it has been adopted by
> > one or other browser vendor!
> When a feature has failed for a decade in terms of implementation
> priorities, I think it reasonable to consider implementation status--
> especially if we wish the spec move to REC one day with two full
> interoperable *implementations*.

But you don't offer any "reasonable" criteria on which to suggest that
@cite or any other feature has "failed". Obviously you can keep
asserting that the acid test is whether browser vendors chose to
implement something, but I'm sorry, that argument is really difficult
to take seriously when viewed in the light of the browser stagnation
of the last few years.



  Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232 |

  standards. innovation.

Received on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:29:46 UTC